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Caladesi Island State Park

Dunedin, Florida

Contact Information
# 1 Causeway Blvd.
Dunedin, 34698
(727) 469-5918

Florida State Campgrounds
Reservations 1-800-326-3521

Along the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, sand dunes line the open beach. Only the hardiest plants can survive there -- sea oats, beach morning glory and sea purslane. Turtles and birds find it an ideal location for nesting areas. The coastal strand is host to several species of grasses and trees such as palmetto, hercules club and sea grape. Periodic storm tides cover the area, limiting the plant community's diversity. Flood and fire are constant threats; however, two species call the coastal strand home -- the burrowing gopher tortoise and its occasional roommate, the Eastern diamondback rattlesnake.

Farther in is the maritime hammock, which provides a more stable environment because of higher elevation and a relatively closed canopy. Live oak, red bay, sabal palm and Southern red cedar thrive here, protected from salt spray and increased water evaporation. The "high ground" of Caladesi is free from floods except under extreme storm conditions. Slash pines dominate the open canopy forest that contains an understory of wax myrtle and palmetto. Park staff keep growth under control with ecological burns during the lightning season, providing maintenance while minimizing danger.

Mangrove forests prevail on Caladesi's eastern coast. One of the few trees that thrives in salt water, there are four species that shelter the island and nurture many of its animal residents. Given time, the mangrove roots trap additional soil and actually add to the island's size.

Ferry service is available from the mainland, weather permitting. The ferry departs hourly. For additional ferry information call (727) 734-5263.

Hours of Operation
Florida State parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.

Driving Directions
Caladesi Island is accessible only by boat or Ferry.

By Boat
From channel marker #14, just west of the Dunedin Causeway Bridge, take an approximate 212-degree heading on your compass for approximately 1 mile. Follow the channel markers into the Caladesi Island State Park Marina.

Driving Directions
The driving directions for Caladesi Island SP are the same as those for Honeymoon Island SP. The ferry service to Caladesi leaves from HISP hourly beginning at 10 AM. Folks can call the ferry service directly 727-734-1501. From I-75 (north of Tampa): I-75 south to I-275 south towards Tampa. Follow I-275 south to Hillsborough Ave west (SR-580). Take SR 580 west to SR-586 fork then left. Follow SR-586 into park. From I-75 (south of Tampa): I-75 north to I-4. I-4 to I-275 north. I-275 to Hillsborough Ave west (SR-580). SR-580 west to SR-586 fork then left. Follow SR-586 west into park.

Park Activities

Visitor Service Provider
The Park Concession offers food, beverages, beach supplies and souvenirs. Kayak, umbrellas and beach chairs are available for rent.

Caladesi Island State Park offers one of the best birding areas in SW Florida. The park is home to many actively nesting Osprey, Oyster Catchers, Snowy Plovers and Least Terns. Roseate Spoonbills, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons and many other species are often observed feeding in the bay, beaches, estuaries and maritime hammock.

Boaters can enjoy the 108 slip bayside marina, or in calm weather, anchor offshore. Overnight docking with electric and water hook-ups is permitted in the bayside marina, but boaters must register before sundown.

Surf and pass fishing can yield catches of flounder, Snook, trout, redfish, snapper, whiting, sheepshead and tarpon. Do you need a Fishing License?

Kayaking is very popular throughout the inner waterways; Caladesi Island offers a 3-Mile kayak trail throughout the mangroves and bay.

Two covered pavilions with picnic tables and grills are located within the Marina area. These pavilions may be reserved for a fee. Picnic shelters and uncovered picnic tables are also located near the beach, walking distance of the restrooms. Pack a basket or cooler and enjoy a leisurely picnic in our shady, picnic area. Let the kids climb on the playground, or swing on the swings.

Nature Trails
A 3-mile self-guided nature trail winds through pine flatwoods and coastal hammocks allowing visitors to observe the great variety of vegetation and wildlife found at the park. This trail also offers kiosks with information regarding the historical significance of the island and the people who made it their home.

With over 3 miles of shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico, Caladesi Island State Park has some of the best shelling opportunities on the Gulf Coast. Live shelling is prohibited.

Outdoor showers are located behind the bathhouses at each boardwalk leading to beach.

Swimming is a popular activity in the calm Gulf waters and the park boasts 3 miles of excellent beachfront. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 beaches in the country.

Wildlife Viewing
West India Manatee and Bottlenose Dolphin can be seen in the waters surrounding the island. Gopher Tortoises and their burrows are plentiful in the scrub and dune area.